Peter Shapiro, resident of Jamaica Plain since 1986, has recently published a book about how to be a good landlord.
“The Good Landlord: A Guide to Making a Profit While Making a Difference” is a manual for landlords and property managers about how and why to practice effective communication and relationship building that can lead to increase profits, while making a positive impact on the community.
The book is also part of “Good Landlord” training and conflict coaching that Shapiro has launched at thegoodlandlord.com.
Shapiro wanted to make a positive contribution to the world as he became an adult, and discovered, to his surprise, that he enjoyed work as a landlord. He earned a degree in urban studies at M.I.T.’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning and bought his first three-family building in Jamaica Plain in 1990. He said he also started working as a professional coach for landlords after his experiences confirmed that it was possible to earn money, while making a difference for tenants and the community.
He later invested in more real estate in the area, and in Jamaica Plain. Shapiro said he currently owns four properties: three triple-deckers in Jackson Square, Central JP, and by the Arboretum, and a 10-unit building on Green Street. He has been a landlord, landlord coach, trainer, and mediator for over 25 years.
Shapiro wrote the book to help landlords using this approach to best succeed.
“I’ve been watching how landlords handle conflict for a while now. One thing I can say is that landlords will do better based on how well they met their tenants’ interests,” Shapiro said. “Pursuing moderate rent increases, meeting with tenant needs, and rewarding positive behaviors will actually increase profits.”
Shapiro writes that by helping to meet the reasonable interests of their tenants, landlords will become more successful and tenants will pay rent on time, cause less property damage, and communicate early about plans to move.
The book is intended for three major audiences in the U.S. and internationally: landlords, small and large; housing professionals in nonprofit and for-profit sector; and the academic real estate community.
Shapiro said the principles in his book can be applied by tenants as well. He advises tenants to inform their landlords early if they’re unable to meet their tenancy obligations and to put things in writing when there is the need to hold landlords accountable going forward. He also suggests for tenants renting from small property owners to help to meet the landlords’ minor needs such as keeping the hallways clear and picking up trash on the property. Shapiro says that these kinds of habits could be useful so that when the time comes, the tenant has leverage to negotiate with landlords on major issues, such as eviction, rent increases, or adding another roommate.
Recently in Boston, Mayor Walsh has launched an anti-displacement legislative agenda, which would include bills to expand tenants rights and urges landlords to keep rents low.
Regarding that agenda, Shapiro said he thinks that many of the policies provide a win-win situation for tenants and landlords.
“Legislation to allow the City to amend the zoning code in order, which would codify the City’s long-standing Inclusionary Zoning Policy by adding an Inclusionary Zoning Article to the zoning code, can also help generate public dollars needed for affordable housing,” Shapiro said.
Good Landlord is available to purchase from Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble, and Create Space. There will also be a MassLandlords meeting where the book will be available on April 12 at Worcester Technical High School at 6 p.m. Books can also be bought from Peter Shapiro directly by calling 617-620-9858.